Psychology of the Adult

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1. To understand adult development models and theories
2. To mobilize knowledge in the field of the curriculum unit in order to understand the life-span approach, particularly with regard to changes and general developmental tasks during the periods of adulthood
3. To deepen knowledge in the psychosexual and socioaffective dimensions, in order to understand the adult subject (in his or her different development stages) in his or her intimate and interpersonal relationships
4. To construct reflective thought in the cognitive and moral dimensions of adult psychology, and to consider its socio-educational and behavioral implications, in order to critically support the student's analyses
5. To mobilize integrated knowledge so as to understand significant transitions (e.g., entry into higher education, entry into the labor market, marriage, parenthood, retirement, etc.)
6. To relate theoretical, methodological and practical knowledge with respect to issues that adults face nowadays


1. Adulthood: models, concepts, tasks, stages, potential and limits
2. Adult psychosexual development: gender, sexual orientation and parenting issues
3. Post-formal thinking and post-convential morality and their implications on education and in individuals' personal epistemologies and world views
4. Affection and adult attachment
5. Socialization processes and transitions
- Adult attachments
- Schlossberg's transitions model: major transitions in adulthood
6. Psychological challenges faced by adults in contemporary society: dreams, realities and different development, work and project trajectories

Teaching Methodologies

Classes are mainly theoretical-practical and practical in nature. The methodology focuses on critical review, problem solving, integrated practical application of knowledge and critical discussion of cases. Thus, students are involved in thematic reflection proposals, practical observations, sharing of research and presentation and discussion of life stories. The assessment includes: i) a research paper or a portfolio, choosen by the students; ii) an individual case study (life stody); and iii) the qualitative participation in the discussion forum that takes place in class over the course of the semester. All learning tasks are presented in the classroom and discussed with the whole class. The weighting of the different assessment elements will be discussed and evaluated with the students.


Anderson, M., Goodman, J., & Schlossberg, N. (2012). Counseling adults in transition. New York: Springer
Arnett, J. J. (2004). Emerging adulthood. Oxford: University Press
Cartensen, L. L. M., Pasupathi, M., Mayr, U., & Nesselroade, J. R. (2000). Emotional experience in everyday life across the adult life span. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79 (4), 644-655.
Commons, M. L., Sinnott, J. D., Richards, F. A., & Armon, C. (Eds.) (1989). Adult development. New York: Praeger.
Helson, R., Jones, C., & Kwan, V. S. Y. (2002). Personality change over 40 years of adulthood. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83 (3), 752-766.
Marchand, H. (2001). Temas de desenvolvimento psicológico do adulto e do idoso. Coimbra: Quarteto.
Medeiros, T., et al. (2014). Envelhecer e Conviver. P. D.: Letras Lavadas.
Trumbull, E., & Pacheco, M. (2005). Human development, culture, and cognition (Vol. I). Providence: The Education Alliance at Brown University



ECTS Credits



  • Orientação Tutorial - 15 hours
  • Teórico-Práticas - 30 hours

Evaluation Methodology

  • According programme: 100%